When presented with an employment contract, you want nothing more than to give it a quick glance, sign on the dotted line and get started in your new position.
While you hope that everything checks out, don’t assume that the contract will suit your every requirement. There are red flags to watch for, including the following:
- Noncompete clause: This can limit your ability to get another job at a competing company or in the same industry, should you decide to move on in the future. It can also make it difficult, if not impossible, to start your own company in the same space.
- Compensation clause: Make sure you’re clear of when and how you’ll receive compensation. For example, if you negotiated a deferred bonus, make sure it’s included in your employment contract.
- Creative provisions: For example, if you secure a patent during your employment, your contract should outline whether it belongs to you or your employer. If you’re not comfortable with this provision, you need to work it out before signing the contract. It’s not something you should try to negotiate in the future.
These are among the most common employment contract red flags, but there are others that could sneak up on you during your review.
If something doesn’t make sense, read it again and then ask questions. If it still doesn’t make sense, talk to your contact about amending the contract to provide more clarity. And finally, don’t neglect to have a second pair of eyes review the contract, as this can help pinpoint details you overlooked.